We’ve seen the real O.J. and we’ve seen the fake O.J. — both in real life and in fake TV drama. And even though he/it/that case should have gone well away by now, the O.J. frenzy once again peaked recently with a TV series, discussions and terrible on-screen reenactments.
It was like “CSI O.J.” All O.J., all the time.
I mean, seriously, the murder took place decades ago, but the country is still racially divided and obsessed with it.
Today’s hearing was deja vu all over again. At least it only took two hours this time and not 22 months as it had in the murder trial of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
There O.J, sat once again expecting the parole board — as he had with the jury in the murder trial — to believe that the Juice was the victim of circumstance. This time, however, he wasn’t wearing Bruno Magli shoes, a $3,000 suit and a glove that didn’t fit. This time he was in prison blues.
In the end, the parole board believed he had done his time and was ready to be freed.
But why was a simple parole hearing for a robbery so compelling? It should have been as interesting as washing your socks.
It was compelling not because of what it was, it was compelling because what we think he did. We were reliving the murder trial, hoping or not for a different outcome, feeling like we did the first time as we sat riveted watching the circus complete with bizarre characters and an unremorseful perp.
In place of Kato Kaelin this time, there was Bruce Fromong, the robbery victim, who was nearly brought to tears almost begging O.J. to forgive him and pledging his loyalty. This guy went so far as to say if O.J. got paroled and asked him to pick him up from jail, “I”d be there tomorrow, Buddy.”
Buddy? This guy needs some new friends.
But that’s the spell O.J. casts with his winning smile and smooth charm and handsome face. If Simpson had been just been another washed up former NFL great who’d robbed a friend, we would not only not have been glued to the screen, but we also wouldn’t have even been able to see it, because it wouldn’t even have been covered.
But then again, if he’d just been anybody else, he wouldn’t have gotten nine years for a crime for which his cohorts — the guys with the guns — got either light sentences or no sentences at all.
So in reality, we weren’t watching to see if O.J. would get parole for serving way too long for a robbery, we were watching as though we were going to see whether he got parole after doing time for killing Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Period.
He won parole even though he’d brazenly had the nerve to say he’d led a “conflict-free life.” The parole board members — one yutz was even wearing a Kansas City Chiefs tie to the hearing of a former NFL star — bought at least part of the story he was a the most peace-loving prisoner since Ghandi.
I don’t know about you, but beating the hell out of your wife many times — Brown Simpson had even left behind a note saying if she were killed, that O.J. did it — isn’t what I like to call a conflict-free life.
If your friend has your belongings, which he shouldn’t have, of course it’s enraging. Still, most people wouldn’t show up with goons carrying guns as the preferred method to deescalate the conflict.
But he made parole, and then made the exact same gesture he did when the jury came back with the “not guilty” verdict in his murder trial.
The more things change the more they don’t. But O.J. did more than his fair share of time for the crime. This crime, anyway.
Hopefully he’s changed and won’t be beating up any more women or robbing any other friends. But if he does, we’ll be back there watching it all on TV, and streaming it live, slavishly once again.
He might not be a great guy, but he makes great TV. Can reality stardom be far behind?